Hiking is very popular among Hawaii locals. Koko Head Crater Hike, also called Koko Head Railway Hike, is definitely one of the most popular hiking trails in South Shore Oahu. This crater tuff cone is smaller than the other ones you can find in the area. However, this steep 196 meters (642 feet) hike is quite physically demanding if you are not in shape! The view at the top of Koko Head is really beautiful, so it is definitely worth the effort!
Looking up Koko Head from below…
Koko Head is located at a roughly 20-minute ride from Waikiki, near Hanauma Bay. It is not a long hike, but is rather challenging as the railway trail, which was once used for supplying for the military bunker at the top, is quite steep.
With the Sun shining above you, you are guaranteed to get sweaty and get some good exercise going up the trail. It is thus a good idea to try this hiking trail before the Sun is too high. People used to this trail usually get there early in the morning to avoid the heat. In spite of the steep hill, it is a very popular hiking trail for everyone, including children and the elderly: the trail itself is short and the view from the top is incredible.
Mind your steps!
Going up the trail, you may run into locals who use this trail for their regular routine exercise. Some run up and down the trail, and you can even see some carry big water tanks as they climb up the 1,048 steps. However, most people take their time to climb up those steps, so you do not need to rush. As a matter of fact, the view gets more beautiful each time you take a break and look out, so I recommend that you enjoy it slowly.
There is a section where you can see the ground below the railway, like in the picture above, so it can be a little scary. However, no worries! There are alternate routes that allow anyone to reach the top of the trail. Just relax and enjoy the hike.
Blue sky, blue ocean, and cactus!
Once you go all the way up the trail, have a walk around the top to see the panorama view of the South Shore. On a sunny day, you get to see the beautiful blue ocean,as well as the rich green colors of surrounding crater tuff cones, as well as a gorgeous blue sky.
There is one thing that can surprize my fellow travellers who, like me, come from a place where guns are not part of our everyday lives. There is a shooting range right by the hiking trail, so the entire time you hike, you will be hearing gun fires. Although this might be a little disconcerting, let me reassure you that the area is secure! This makes an interesting atmosphere, with the contrast between a very peaceful view, and the constant gun fires noises nearby.
You might be interested in these Airbnbs!
There are great hikes around Koko Head
After climbing up 1,048 steps, it is not too physically demanding to come down the 1,048 steps back to the bottom of the trail. However, the trail can be steep, so try not to rush, and take the time to enjoy the view. You might be surprised, but there are quite a few people who rush to the bottom and fall on their faces.
After hiking Koko Head and if you still have energy, there are many great hiking trails near Koko Head, so you might like to continue your adventure! From the top of Koko Head, you can actually see other trails such as Makapu’u, which could be your next destination.
A beautiful view worth the effort!
Two things you definitely do not want to forget going to Koko Head hike is to bring good hiking shoes, and also plenty of water! This hiking trail is rather short, but physically demanding in some areas, so you want to make sure you are well hydrated. It is indeed a family-friendly hike, so you can go with little children and elderly people, but it can also be a great hike to make with friends or as a couple.
Many locals take a weekend morning to hike this trail and one or two more trails, so you could dedicate a weekend filled with fun and short hikes!
Get Trip101 in your inbox